Standing Firm: Walking through Romans – Chapter 12 part 4

My big idea today is that how we engage with others today, may have a great impact on how they spend eternity.  My prayer for us today is that by hearing this message that together we may be reminded that God has not called us to walk out our faith alone, He has given us each other and He has given us His Holy Spirit. If you have your Bibles today you can join me as we turn to, you guessed it Romans Chapter 12 starting at verse 14.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Romans 12:14-16

In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 3 sections or points. Let’s take a look at my first point.

Blessing Is Our Commandment

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Romans 12:14

The people of God have always understood their role as a house of Blessing. From the foundation of God’s calling of Abraham, God’s desire to use Abraham as a conduit of His blessing was clear.

“I will make you into a great nation,  and I will bless you; I will make your name great,  and you will be a blessing.  3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  

Genesis 12:2-3

Previously Paul, is instructing believer’s on how to relate and behave towards other believers. In this passage Paul shifts his focus on our relationships with nonbelievers.  Paul’s words in verse 14 mirror Jesus’ teaching from the sermon on the mount.

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Luke 6:27-28

How many of us know that blessing those who love you is easy? How many know that its easy to bless those who share common goals? How many know how easy it is to bless those who share our same political ideas? Bless those who persecute you. Bless them and do not curse them. Again, Jesus says, “I say, love you enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.

In their day (1st century) Christians were a target. Politically targeted. Economically targeted. Religiously targeted. They were the favorite scapegoat of that time. Even Nero set fire to Rome and blamed the Christians, because he knew that people would be ok with it. God continued to bless His people as they learned how to love others, not with human love. Rather, love with the love of the Lord.

Here is why this is so important for us to really get this today. The enemy desires to sift us like wheat. To divide humanity and turn us on one another. We are seeing this right now everywhere. God has called us to be a mediator of sorts in this chaotic world. If we love others in this way we will become a buffer in the world and this will give an opportunity for others to know God.

Let’s move to my second point.

Sharing And Empathy Is Our Concern

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn

Romans 12:15

Paul switches back to include relationships among believers. Rejoicing and mourning

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Sharing and empathizing with others is how we go about doing it. When we share in the lives of others we are really building a trust or a foundation of security for the relationship to be built on. When we partake in the joy and mourning of nonbelievers, we establish the platform to speak into personal areas of their lives. We can speak to their hearts through the Holy Spirit. Someone once said that… “no one cares what you know, until they know that you care.” Sharing and empathy towards others, believers and nonbelievers alike, is the nuts and bolts of our ministry to the world.

All ministry flows through relationships. When we help others. When we laugh with others. When we cry with others. We are building that relational foundation that may one day support their salvation. Fulfilling the laws of Christ.

During this time, I have witnessed this church make phone calls to check on each other. We’ve given rides. Grocery shopped. Delivered goods. We have even repaired floors. But, let me ask you this, would respond the same to someone who had treated us poorly? Would we have exerted the same effort for a neighbor who was unkind? Sharing and empathy must be our concern for whom ever God puts on our path.

I’ll move to my final point.

Unity Is Our Objective

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Romans 12:16 &17

Living in harmony with others is not about just minding our own business. But unity requires that we seek the betterment of those around us. That we do not allow our pride and self-interest to rule in our hearts. What ever rules in our hearts will also rule in our actions.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

God Has shown us what is good through His word and through His Son Jesus. What does God require of us? Bless those who persecute you. Bless and not to curse. To rejoice. To Mourn. To live in peace and harmony with others. Bearing the burdens of others and walking humbly with all types of others.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Romans 12:14-16

I’m closing now. Many of the things I’ve said today are fairly elementary. But every now and again we must be reminded that God has called us to reach all people.  Not just the ones we like. Or the ones we agree with. Sometimes, He will cause us to step over our own pride in order to do His will. Many of us were reached in that way. Perhaps God opened the heart of someone in your life that lead to your salvation. Maybe today God is asking you this today…

Would you open our hearts today?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today?  God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life?  He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late.

It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.

Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life.  If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me.

Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.

 “‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’

Numbers 6:24-26